This is Sedum 'Atropurpureum'. The main point of it is the purple stems which I have cunningly not included in the photograph. Growing near it I have what is supposed to be an improved form: 'Matrona'. For the life of me I can see no difference between them. These varieties are great favourites of Piet Oudolf, Beth Chatto and others whose names are conjured with and they are pretty good plants.
This nice white form has sported a bright pink stem. I've checked carefuly and yes, it is definitely the same plant. The pink is the colour of the form 'Brilliant', which you see next.
This next curiosity, complete with bee, is 'Stewed Rhubarb Mountain'.
Huh? It's a sprawler and difficult to place. 'Wisley Red', below, is also oddly named, as it isn't really red at all.
I've saved the best until last and it is the bog standard, see it everywhere, easiest thing in the world to grow, Sedum spectabile.
It's only just starting, has looked good for months and will continue to look good for a few more. I can't think of a better garden plant. I have it at the front of the border, giving a fringe of pale green throughout the growing season. As the border behind starts to dry up, the sedum flowers begin: pale green, pale pink, getting darker through to burgundy and eventually rust. The brown stems even look jolly in winter.
All these sedums were given the Chelsea Chop, as described earlier in the year and they are easily the best things in the garden at the moment. Also useful is this Nicotiana:
It's an annual and rather a mystery. It has fascinating little green tube-shaped flowers. It is not N.langsdorffii, I know for sure. I found a lot of seedlings of it in a pot in the greenhouse (a pot with a completely different plant in, that is), pricked, potted and planted and hey presto! I have lots of plants to cheer the scene.